RALEIGH, N.C. — The North Carolina House approved a bill today that would harm North Carolinians’ health and rights by banning abortion after 12 weeks of pregnancy and imposing severe restrictions on care before that point. The bill, SB 20, was passed using a procedural mechanism that allowed politicians to add the abortion ban and restrictions to unrelated legislation last night and quickly advance the bill through the chamber today with little public input.
For months, North Carolina politicians have met behind closed doors to advance their anti-abortion agenda out of public view and without opportunities to let the public’s voices be heard. The bill will now advance in the NC Senate, which is expected to call for a final vote on the ban tomorrow morning at 10 a.m.
In addition to banning abortion after 12 weeks of pregnancy, the legislation would have drastic impacts on other reproductive health care and abortion access by making it as hard as possible to access care within the 12-week window, including:
- Increasing the burdens of what was already the the longest mandatory delay requirement in the country by requiring a patient to make two trips to a provider with a 72-hour period in between;
- Banning the use of medication abortion care after 10 weeks of pregnancy, despite overwhelming medical evidence showing that abortion pills can be safely used after that point; and
- Requiring patients seeking medication abortion care to potentially make three trips to clinics for care.
The bill could also have a severe impact on the health of patients experiencing miscarriages and pregnancy complications by putting healthcare providers in the untenable position of deciding whether to withhold necessary medical care in order to comply with the law’s confusing, non-medical terminology, or care for patients and risk violating the law. In other states that have imposed abortion bans, patients experiencing miscarriages and other pregnancy complications have had their health and lives put in jeopardy as a result of the bans. North Carolina politicians could condemn North Carolinians to a similar fate by playing politics with patients’ health.
“Politicians are manipulating the legislative process to advance a radical anti-abortion agenda without meaningful public input or scrutiny,” said Liz Barber, senior policy counsel with the ACLU of North Carolina. “Make no mistake: Legislators have chosen the most cowardly approach to push their fringe agenda because they know this bill is widely out of step with the vast majority of North Carolinians. A person’s health should guide important medical decisions at every stage of pregnancy, not the extreme ideological agenda of politicians. Despite the General Assembly’s best efforts, we will not be silenced. We will continue fighting back against this egregious and cowardly attack on our fundamental rights and ability to access the essential abortion care we need.”
You can use this link to contact your legislators and tell them that you oppose further abortion restrictions in North Carolina.
Additionally, if you’re concerned about accessing abortion care in North Carolina, you can visit our abortion guide. While the legislature is attempting to push abortion care out of reach, abortion is still legal in North Carolina, and you have a right to access the care you need.